Photo credit: Jackie Dives
Imagine sailing past icebergs and up narrow, breathtaking fjords through the towering Torngat Mountains, with a small crew and passengers from all walks of life. Onboard, discussions range from the ongoing traumatic impacts of Canada’s residential school system and the effects of climate change on northern coastal communities. The Torngats are the spiritual and territorial homeland of the Inuit of Nunatsiavut, northern Labrador, Canada. In late July, as part of the Canada C3 voyage, I was invited to take part in leg 6 of a fifteen leg, 150-day journey across all three coasts of Canada as writer-in-residence.
Photo credit: Yanick Lesperance
As one of the signature projects of Canada 150, Canada C3 is both a literal journey across the country and an interactive, multi-faceted conversation among Canadians addressing the four key themes of the voyage: reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians; diversity; the environment, and youth engagement. Perhaps not surprisingly, these were all themes addressed passionately at Pearson during my recent stint as alumni-in-residence. On my leg of C3, some of my fellow participants and new friends included Canada’s first Indigenous surgeon, a famous sketch comedian, a federal MP, a ceramic artist, a Mi’kmaq medical student, a Yukon Supreme Court justice, a singer-songwriter, a pair of celebrity chefs, a new Canadian from Malawi, and the leader of Canada’s Inuit. Together, we travelled through the heart of the Inuit homeland, from Nain, Labrador to Iqualuit, Nunavut. We engaged in emotional, late-night conversations, opening our hearts and minds to one another in a bid to understand not only what it means to be Canadian 150 years after Confederation, but also how we learn to acknowledge and bear witness to the complicated scars of history, even as we plant the seeds for a more just future. Nakkumek.
Trevor Corkum (on left) with two fellow passengers. Photo credit: Samia Madwar
Trevor Corkum (YR18/1993, Canada-PEI)
You can also read about Trevor’s experiences in two articles that he penned for the Toronto Star:
Trevor Corkum’s first hand view of Canada C3 expedition
Sea expedition gives voice to Canada’s unwritten stories